Nightmare tenant(14 Posts)
This could be long but I'll try not to waffle
7ish years ago I rented out my house to a friend and her husband, they have 2 kids. They have always been fairly good at paying the rent on time but the house is an absolute state. It's extremely messy and unclean and there is damage caused to the house.
Recently their marriage has broken down and he has moved out and rented somewhere else (taking the DC15 but leaving DC9 with his mum).
As their landlord I have not been given the correct notice to leave by the husband although I am aware he's gone. She is now wanting a sole tenancy agreement and claims that she won't get UC and housing benefit without it. Is this true? The job centre have the original tenancy agreement on file.
I don't want to give her a new one with sole responsibility as it would change the tenancy from a rolling periodic tenancy to a new 6 month AST. I feel it would be harder to chase rent arrears or to evict her.
For context, she's currently in crisis. Social services have been made aware that she's neglecting the youngest child. They seem to have backed off but it's still going on. She's drinking heavily while he is at school (and at all other times), as a friend I've been really worried and have tried to help and offered help. However, she has become really nasty towards me on several occasions now and I'm sick of it. (I'm one of the few friends that still speak to her as she has form for this) I know that the rent date is going to come and go with no sign of the money and I can't afford to cover that indefinitely.
I regret renting to a friend as it complicates matters. My question is 1) will UC refuse to pay her housing benefit without a new rental agreement and 2) AIBU to not give her a sole tenancy agreement considering I've not had official notice that he's left and that she's trashed the house?
Yes unless a new tenancy agreement is made in her sole name there will be issues with housing benefit.
Also depending on what the local authority cap is, they may not even cover the full cost of the rent with just the two of them in the property (you can check this on your local councils website)
It may be better for your friend if you serve a section 21 to evict her so she can apply for social housing which has much cheaper rental (and will typically be covered in full by benefits.
Thanks, I didn't know about that. I've just checked it and yes it's around £30 lower than what she pays currently.
If I do serve her notice it's going to cost me in the immediate and the long term. I'll never get the cost of the repairs needed back, nor any rent for the next two months minimum. It'll be a long time before it's in a habitable state to rent out again. It'll mean the end of our friendship too sadly.
Never rent to friends.
I think either way you are going to have a problem on your hands. Do you want her to stay and continue trashing the place (it's going to get worse I would guess considering her state) and getting no rent, or just do the 21 and get your property back before it gets worse? I don't think the friendship is going to survive anyway is it really? Even if you get the house back now you'll still have costs of repair etc.
No you're right, the friendship isn't going to survive. I know I shouldn't have rented to her, that was my mistake.
I can see this being a ridiculously long process with her refusing to leave
It sounds like you're putting off ending the agreement because you've invested so much time and energy into a friendship, plus the accrued damage to your property.
Unfortunately you're going to take a big hit emotionally and financially from this situation. The longer you put it off, the harder it will be. Sorry OP
She isn't getting Housing Benefit, that was replaced by Universal Credit in almost all circumstances.
She also doesn't need a new tenancy agreement, the one she already has will show that she has a tenancy and is liable for the rent. A new one could make life easier for her though, if the Jobcentre decide to be difficult about it.
@Hont1986 is right. Housing costs will be included in her UC because she is liable to pay the rent and her tenancy will be at risk if she doesn't. If I was in the office, I'd be able to dig out the relevant regulation, but I'm off today.
It may help if you write a letter saying that you don't want to start a new tenancy for a fixed period and therefore you will be continuint with the current periodic tenancy.
if you do serve her she will stop paying rent and you will have to force her out... but it is likely she will stop paying rent anyways and you will then have to start eviction and that can take a long time... so 6 of one half a dozen of another... either way it is likely you will lose the friendship , you are in a no win situation, kick her out as fast as you can ( maybe consult with a lawyer or someone who knows the ins and outs of rentals to you can get her out the fastest way) and its highly doubtful she will pay for any repairs
Yes I was in the exact same situation as her I feel so bad for her.
Me & ex were renting from a close family member of his, when he decided to just up and leave, I found out he'd stopped paying all the bills, the rent, and I had no income as I was a SAHM. Threatening letters for bills, people banging on the door demanding payments. I had two young boys.
Universal credit looked at the tennancy agreement and said "Look there's two of you, he should be working". They will not pay you enough to live on without a dossier of all kinds of proof. It is a nightmare.
It took months for me to get any kind of payment. This was at the same time as my kids asking where daddy had gone. Me worrying baliffs would come and take their toys.
The landlord was HORRIBLE to me, the worst, and would bang on the door demanding rent. I'd explain how Ex (closely related to him) had walked out and stopped paying it - but it wasn't good enough. He wanted 2 grand of backdated rent. I got threat after threat.
I then started to drink wine to deal with it all but luckily caught myself before it got too bad.
Please don't be too hard on her, she needs a lot of support in this situation. I wish I could help her.
I won't be threatening or harassing her but I can't afford to cover her rent indefinitely either. Thanks for all the comments, pleased that she'll be able to get UC on the old contract
Can you hand the situation to an agent to deal with, also check your insurance covers the change of circumstances. Can she provide a guarantor? Difficult circumstances for all. If the rent is required to pay a mortgage you’ll need to put a business head on and try and separate the personal aspect although very hard to do so.
issue sec 21 if you have done all the other stuff (gas safe, epc, etc etc etc)
she will probably stop paying - might as well, makes no difference. Probably six months to repo with bailiff costs etc. Hope the local drug cuckoos dont spot her.
horrible all round.
God, get rid of her! You're being mugged off here and what will end up happening is she'll stop paying rent and you'll be forced to sub that plus the trashed house.
You've given her more than enough support, she needs to stand on her own two feet and if she won't then find someone else to rip off.
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